04/25/18 12:00pm

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MUD FOR 800 NEW HOMES ON PINE CREST GOLF COURSE Houston’s city council voted today to approve a proposal to create a municipal utility district for an 800-house development Meritage Homes wants to build on the former Pine Crest Golf Course. The golf course, which lies within the 100-year floodplain, is located at the corner of Gessner and Clay in the Brickhouse Gully watershed — where 2,300 residential structures flooded during Harvey. Today’s vote was on a proposal identical to one that was considered by the council last October but instead referred to the mayor’s office for further review. A representative of Meritage Homes told the Chronicle following the initial proposal that it would publish an analysis of “where or how floodwaters would flow across the surrounding land” after construction. But it later decided not to — reported the Chronicle’s Mike Morris — claiming that such a study would have been “irrelevant” in light of the city’s new standards for building in floodplains. A no vote by city council today would not have necessarily killed the project, council member Brenda Stardig noted to Morris — although it would have forced Meritage to find an alternate source of funding for the neighborhood’s infrastructure. The developer bought the 150-acre former golf course from MetroNational last year. [Houston Chronicle; more; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Meritage Homes

10/31/17 10:30am

MUD AND WATER AT THE PINE CREST GOLF COURSE Aerial, Pine Crest Golf Club Tomorrow City Council is scheduled to approve a new municipal utility district for a proposed development on the Pine Crest Golf Course at Gessner and Clay Rd. in Spring Branch that would include enough new homes to house 800 residents. MetroNational is selling the 116-acre site to Meritage Homes. “The district would be served by the City’s regional plant, West District Wastewater Treatment Plant,” reads the agenda item. “The nearest major drainage facility for Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 552 would be Buffalo Bayou, which flows into the Houston Ship Channel.” [City Council; previously on SwamplotPhoto of Pine Crest Golf Course: Meritage Homes

11/06/12 2:18pm

A LITTLE ELECTION DAY MUD-SLINGING IN SPRING A $58 million bond measure to reimburse developer DR Horton for utility and road construction on 400 soon-to-be-developed acres just south of The Woodlands and east of Gosling Rd. is expected to pass in today’s election by a mere 2 votes. The couple expected to account for the winning margin just moved into the area in a trailer they’ve parked in a clearing. And, yeah, they’ll be the only people allowed to vote on the measure. Does this sound like a strange picture in an elective democracy? It’s the normal course of events for establishing municipal utility districts on empty land. 659 MUDs are currently active in the Houston area; since 2009, 88 new ones have been established statewide. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of Willow and Spring Creeks: Northampton MUD

11/11/10 1:50pm

All it takes is a little subtraction! Say you’ve got 20 picocuries of cancer-friendly alpha radiation per liter in your drinking water. Well, there’s gotta be some margin of error in measuring it, right? Say, 6 picocuries per liter? Then just go ahead and subtract that number out (because you’ve gotta be optimistic about these things, you know, or it’ll kill you). Then . . . voilà! Your level of those nasty little mutation-causing particles is now just 14 picocuries. And phew! what a relief! Because the EPA’s “maximum contaminant level” for alpha radiation happens to be 15 picocuries per liter, and those math wizards at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have just saved your community’s water supply from receiving a violation notice! Slight problem: since 2000, the EPA has requested that states not use this little data-jiggering technique. But not to worry: TCEQ’s Linda Goodins, who oversees all drinking-water safety regulation for the state, doesn’t think the EPA’s request was an actual requirement. (Just to placate to those ever-meddling feds though, TCEQ discontinued its subtraction technique last year.)

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